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Unbelievable RC

The Frog

Tamiya Frog

Summary

  • Model #: 58041, 58354, 57758
  • Gallery: View
  • Released: 1983, 2005
  • Prebuilt: No
  • Category: Buggies
  • Chassis: Subaru Brat
  • Scale: 1/10
  • Use: Offroad
  • Style: 2WD buggy
  • Config: RR
  • Driveline: Gear transmission
  • Body: Polycarbonate
  • Finished body: No
  • Susp. front: 3-link
  • Susp. rear: Trailing arm

Photo gallery samples

Visit the full Tamiya Frog gallery for more photos.

Video

JANG's Impressions

"Ribbit," anyone? For most RC'ers who got into the hobby in the 1980s, their first car was either a Grasshopper or a Frog, and in the entire history of RCs, few are more iconic than this. Today one might say the Frog's chassis design looks laughable, but you have to understand, this came out in 1983. Tamiya's previous buggy was the Super Champ, which had a hard ABS body, flat fiberglass plate chassis, and scale Volkswagen Beetle-style trailing arm front suspension with arms made of poured, cast steel (as was the transmission!). The Frog was a leap forward in design and was marketed as a high-performance racer.

The Frog placed a flat battery pack at the lowest possible point for a better center of gravity, and it included a gear differential for improved steering & traction, independent trailing arm rear suspension for a "smooth" ride and reduced camber changes, and a new 3-link front suspension setup. Everything was held together with a rigid molded ABS spaceframe chassis, an topped off with a very lightweight polycarbonate body. It was the best of the best!

Me, I wasn't one of those lucky kids who got his start in RC with a Tamiya classic. I had to wait for the re-release, which occurred over a decade later in 2005. The new version is an almost completely faithful part-for-part rerun of the original. Almost. Gone are the funky old driveshafts with hex-shaped splines that liked to strip out, replaced by regular dogbones. Also, the shocks have been updated with volume compensating bladders. Tamiya even throws in a TEU-101BK non-BEC ESC with the kit. An XB RTR set was even offered in a big pink box with an AdSpec radio set.

With the stock silver-can Johnson 540-sized motor, the Frog isn't a screamer, but it's not a completely hopeless slug, either. True to its name, it likes to jump. However, with the overly stiff suspension, it's not always so great on the landings. Fortunately, when the going gets rough, the dual steel rollover masts on either side really do help to spring the Frog back on its feet without human intervention, protecting the body in the process. The real joy of running a Frog today is just experiencing history all over again. When you drive it, you learn exactly what it was like in the very earliest days of RC off-roading. It was slower, taller, and bouncier than it is today, but more realistic to look at and I dare every bit as fun, if not more so.

 

Tips

I didn't put together this chassis (I only did final assembly and the body & driver), so I don't have any real tips to share this time. This one was graciously assembled by long-time staff member "Bigwrenn" from the Ultimate RC Forums. Many thanks for the work!